Lloyd Ansah ’22 aspires to bring something different to the world. As an artist, songwriter, designer and entrepreneur, the College of Arts and Sciences sophomore has worked hard to push himself forward, pushing his own creative limits as well as the limits of his genre.
Today, you can see early flashes of glitz and glamour- he’s headlined famous venues like S.O.B’s and Y, his singles Confidence and Y have both reached over 2k views, while his Instagram account slowly creeps over 6,000 followers- despite his sharp rise, his journey began with humble beginnings. In contrast to the persona he holds today, as a 10-year-old kid, his DEMEANOR was much different. Spending his early childhood in Ghana, reflecting, Lloyd says, “When I started in elementary school, girls didn’t like me and people made fun of me. It was very hard for me until I found out I could sing.”
Finding this talent opened the door for Ansah socially, but it had an even more profound effect on his academics. Teachers at this elementary school supported Lloyd’s growth, encouraging him to participate in his first school plays and musical classes.
In many ways, his early experiences built a foundation for his success. “I was surrounded by a lot of love,” he said, reflecting on where he received his generous nature. “But, I also had strict parents growing up,” he continues. “Education was always a big thing. My dad always said, ‘I didn’t bring you here to be a singer or a basketball player, I brought you to become someone respectable.’”
This caused some conflict between Lloyd and his parents. Through his eyes, he and his parents saw life through very different lenses – theirs heavily based on traditional Ghanaian values, and his increasingly influenced by American culture. He needed to express himself in ways he felt his parents would never understand. “I wasn’t about to sing in the house, so school became an escape for me,” he says. “That was how music and me became best friends.”
This conflict came to a head in 8th-grade when he was set to pick a high school. While his parents preferred that he attend a school with a rigorous academic program, Lloyd was compelled by his growing curiosities. “Every time I went to school, I would be doing what I love.” He decided to apply to a school without his parents’ permission — the Frank Sinatra School for the Arts. He remembers the day he snuck out to the admissions audition, saying, “That was the first time I made a decision for my life.”
Ultimately, his parents conceded the fight and let Lloyd make his decision. He graduated middle-school to attend the top-performing performing arts school in NYC.
“High school gave me an opportunity to combine my education with my passion, it was a breeding ground of talent.” There, he learned to study the greats, from the music of Beethoven and Bach to the ADJ of Louis Armstrong. “It opened my eyes to what I wanted to sound like.” He continued to pursue this vision throughout his four-years.
After graduating high school, he spent a year at SUNY Fredonia. While he largely intended this chapter to be a stepping stone, he was blessed with an enormous opportunity to meet and create with some of his closest friends. “My friends at Fredonia gave me something to fight for,” he said, “I started to see my music as making a soundtrack for our lives”
Outside OF MUSIC, he founded Jiggy By Nature, alongside four other friends. “Everywhere we went, people would call us ‘jiggy boys.’ We dressed nicely and looked good, which developed into a mentality.” The friends decided to create their own brand, with the vision to “enable our audience to be comfortable being themselves in whatever environment they are placed in.” The goal of the brand was to inspire.
These formative experiences ultimately led Ansah into his dream school, Syracuse University. He imagined SU as a place to find even more opportunities, saying, “I wanted to touch the Schine stage. I wanted to open up for artists, I wanted to come to a school where I could flourish.”
Today, Lloyd is focused on excelling academically, perfecting his craft and developing his personal brand. His short term goal is to “develop into the artist I want to be.” By experimenting with new sounds and pushing the limits of his fear, hesitation or vulnerabilities, he aspires to create something different on his 9-song debut album, set for release later this month. Looking up to pioneering artists like BB King, Adele or Ty Dolla $ign, he seeks to “imitate to innovate.”
His long term goals are much larger. “I love artists the most who respect the craft,” he says. Ansah plans to continue spending hours in the studio perfecting his craft. He aspires to reach a healthy balance between unique melodies and lyrical potency, admiring artists like Tory Lanez or Brent Faiyaz. By putting in the work, he’s aiming at two main goals, appearing on the XXL Freshman cover, and becoming New York’s First Singer. “New York City has never had a singer, we have a whole bunch of rappers, and I kind of do what these rappers do… just a ‘lil bit better,” he said slyly.
As an artist, songwriter, designer and entrepreneur, Lloyd Ansah respects his craft. His talent goes far beyond the surface, crafted by years of practice, patience and personal development. He wants to be remembered for, “introducing something different.” I want to be a part of the innovative forces influencing our communities,” he says, continuing with certainty in his tone…
“I want to be a positive voice in the Black community,” he concludes.
And, as Prince said, “Sometimes it takes years for a person to become an overnight success.”
Story by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow Jalen Nash ‘20 Submitted photo